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Indiana Cattle Farmer

Abby Nichols

“My grandpa worked and saved to buy this farm. I hope to pass this same farm down to my kids.”

Abby Nichols
Cattle Farmer

Name: Abby Nichols
Location: Franklin, Indiana
Years farming: I’ve farmed here full-time for five years.
My family: I was the youngest of three girls, and now farm with my husband Andy, dad, uncle, and cousin. My extended family is quite close as well.
How I came to be a farmer: I grew up on the farm and showed cattle in 4-H. In high school, I became quite active in FFA, and served as a national FFA officer, which gave me the opportunity to see how many opportunities there are in agriculture outside of my family’s farm. At that time I thought I wanted a career in agribusiness, but after visiting and meeting with many agriculture companies, I realized I had a deep love and pride for my family’s work – production agriculture. I knew that I would never be truly happy, unless I was farming with my family.
The best thing about being a farmer: Putting my hands in the soil, harvesting corn, watching a calf being born, watching the sunrise over a field. There is a wonderful mystery in production agriculture. While I know scientists can explain much of it, I still marvel at a corn plant or how a mama cow has the instincts to know how to raise a healthy calf. It’s hard to put the “best thing about being a farmer” in words. I feel lucky I get to do this for a living!
My personal philosophy on farming: To be a steward of the land and to continue to adopt modern production practices to improve the overall profitability and productivity of our farm.

Beef Production in Indiana and the United States
  • Indiana has over 19,000 sites engaged in beef production with a total of 960,000 head of cattle.
  • Beef is the leading protein in the United States. The average per capita consumption is around 66 pounds.
  • There are more than one billion cattle in the world. The U.S. has less than 10% of the world’s cattle inventory, but produces nearly one-fourth of the world’s beef supply.
  • The U.S. beef industry is comprised of more than a million farms, ranches, and businesses operating in all 50 states. The average herd size is 40 head.
  • A steer weighing 1,000 pounds will produce about 1,600 hamburgers.
  • More than 40% of beef sold in the U.S. is ground beef.
  • The most tender cut of beef is Beef Tenderloin (think Filet Mignon).
  • The hamburger made its international debut at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. Legend has it that the first hamburger was served at a small café in Athens, Texas during the 1880s.
  • Nearly nine out of 10 U.S. households will eat beef at home in the next two weeks – that’s 251 million people.
  • Male cattle are called bulls. Females, prior to giving birth, are called calves or heifers.
  • Cows do not have front upper teeth. A cow has one stomach with four different chambers, which is why many people say that a cow has four stomachs.
  • Columbus brought cattle with him on his second voyage to the New World in 1493.

For more information about cattle farming in Indiana, please visit

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